Chael Sonnen Says ‘To Fight A Teammate Is One Thing,’ but No One Should Have to Fight a Coach

November 13, 2013 10:35 am by Christopher Murphy

As UFC light heavyweight fighter Chael Sonnen prepares to fight friend and fellow fighter Rashad Evans, Sonnen clarifies that every fighter will eventually have to fight their friends and teammates – but no fighter should be asked to fight their coach.


By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA

Chael Sonnen has often discussed his belief that all fighters may have to face their teammates and friends at some point in their careers.  He is doing just that this Saturday, as he faces friend and fellow FOX Sports 1 commentator Rashad Evans at UFC 167.

But Sonnen clarified that belief by naming men he simply would not fight: Dan Henderson, Randy Couture and Matt Linland.

These men are among those who coached Sonnen throughout his career, and according to the self-proclaimed American Gangster, that is one relationship that cannot and should not be challenged by a fight.

You have to understand this,” Sonnen explained to Bleacher Report, “Matt Linland, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson… these are the guys who trained me.  These are the guys who gave up their time, away from their families, away from their own hobbies, to prepare me.  To ask a teammate to fight a teammate is one thing.  To ask an athlete to fight his coach has never been done.  I don’t believe it ever will be done and it’s a totally different thing.  Two workout partners is different than competing with your coach.  It’s significantly different.  I highly doubt, without a title on the line, that the UFC would ever ask an athlete to do that.

Of course, Chael Sonnen is in no real threat of facing any of the three names he gave: Randy Couture and Matt Lindland are both retired.  And while Dan Henderson says he has two more years in him, his most recent performance showed a Dan Henderson who is at the very least vulnerable to age.

At least until Saturday night, however, Sonnen’s focus will be entirely on friend and foe, Rashad Evans.

UFC 167, which is headlined by the welterweight title fight between champion Georges St-Pierre and challenger Johny Hendricks, will take place this Saturday, November 16 live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The main card airs live on Pay-Per-View beginning at 10pm/7pm ETPT, with preliminary cards streaming online at 6:30pm/3:30pm ETPT and on FOX Sports 1 at 8pm/5pm ETPT.

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